Arguably the most iconic Christmas song of all time was written on a scorching hot afternoon in southern California. The year was 1945 and jazz renaissance man Mel Tormé had just arrived at the home of his writing partner, Bob Wells for that afternoon's creative session. As Mel let himself inside the Well's home in Toluca Lake to escape the blistering heat, he called out for his friend and received no answer. He then wandered over to the piano where he saw Wells' spiral notepad open. Overtaken by curiosity, Tormé began to read some of the lines Wells had just created,
When Wells arrived, he told his friend, "It's so damn hot today, I thought I'd write something to cool myself off. All I could think of Christmas and cold weather." Tormé replied, "I think you might have something here." Thus inspired, the two settled down to work with Wells providing the lyrics and Tormé the music. Within 45 minutes the song was complete. In his autobiography, Tormé would recall,
Over the ensuing years, Nat King Cole would lay down several different recordings of the tune - the definitive version being released in 1960. The debut of "The Christmas Song" in the United States would mark the first time a holiday standard was ever introduced by a black singer. Although many others have covered it, Cole's rendition remains the most iconic and it's safe to say that no one's Christmas season is complete without a hearing of it. Enjoy!